The year 2012 was marked by a lot of change in the digital space from the continued penetration by mobile devices, the wider use of social media and its integration in business. There were more options for digital marketing in terms of platform options and usage. What can we expect in the 2013 with regards in the world of digital marketing?
The year for Big Data
According to IBM 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. Big Data comes from a very diverse range of sources. It ranges from posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos purchase transactions and location data. All the gadgets and devices, and machines we have are constantly generating data relating to our offline and online activities.
This data is generated by personal devices we carry with us everywhere we ago, by the computers we use at work, when we purchase goods online. Most of the time we are not even aware of all of this data that is constantly being generated.
Organisations collect data about their customers in order to send relevant messages, offer them a product. The aim for big data is helping organisations interact more effectively and efficiently with their target market. Great use of data and information about customer behaviour
Data vastly increases the insights that organisations have about their customers, from their online to spending habits and activity. It involves using social customer data and analytics to refine marketing. There is so much data that analysing it and making sense of it has grown into a field of its own.
The rise of content marketing
Content marketing is no longer a buzz word. It is fast evolving into a critical aspect of business. Content marketing is the art of understanding exactly what type of information a brand’s customers need and for brands to provide that information in a relevant and compelling way.
Customers have become more discerning and savvy and buying decision is made long before purchase. Content marketing ultimately seeks to influence their decision.
Brands need to provide their followers with practical and value-adding information on a regular basis. A brand with such information helps to solve daily problems and will benefit from positive brand association and exposure.
That brand will create an expectation among its customers and they will return to engage with the brand on the various channels. A builder for instance could share information on how to build a wall or use certain building applications.
There is need for ever-more personalized content from consumers across various platforms (social, mobile, local). The creation of contextually-relevant content speaks to the wants and needs of each segment of their target audience.
The rise of automated marketing
The need for automated marketing arose as companies needed to be efficient and effective in generating leads. It provided ways to streamline sales and place repetitive manual processes. Marketing automation platforms help nurture and qualify marketing leads. They reduce the number of potential leads being lost by companies from people who interact with the brand online whether it is on the website or social platforms.
Automated marketing makes it easier to generate leads with potential leads. It involves the use of welcome campaigns and mails on online platforms. It is becoming more sophisticated as companies add more features and functions to their websites.
Mobile first marketing campaigns
Mobile growth over the past few years has been explosive. It is projected that 800 million smartphones and tablets will be sold by the end of 2012.
More and more people are accessing the internet via mobile devices. Mobile access to the internet by mobile devices will exceed desktop by 2014 or 2015. This development will have huge implications for digital marketing. Reaching customers on mobile first will make more sense.
Mobile devices are now more sophisticated and in some cases the user experiences on devices such as iPad can even exceed that on the traditional desktop.
A company needs to ensure that its online assets (website, social media and online content) are optimised for viewing on mobile devices. Mobile-first marketing campaigns will become more prevalent as mobile campaigns have moved from nice-to-have to critical in some instances.
We will most likely see more mobile driven and centred marketing campaigns. There will be a move of mobile marketing from being a secondary consideration to a primary one.
From SEO to targeted discovery
Google is already moving to algorithms that favour content over process. SEO is now evolving at a much faster pace than before. Google is releasing regular updates and changes to its search algorithms.
The common theme cutting across the evolution of SEO using good is that content must be high quality and highly relevant to the person search.
There is less focus on SEO tricks and more on content and context. High quality and originality are rewarded. The next level will be targeted discovery.
SEO will slowly morph into user-intent driven targeted discovery. User-intent driven target discovery as the term implies will be initiated by users across various digital platforms. Users will be more empowered.
With targeted discovery we will also see the rise of specific-use social and mobile apps, socially-generated content (user-generated reviews), and predictive recommendations.
Zibusiso Mkhwanazi is CEO of digital marketing agency, AVATAR.
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